From the Archives: Unmasked With Chris Gethard

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“I have deformed elbows and hands and a big head. That’s what being a nerd was when I was a kid.   It has been co-opted now.  And I like that we’ve built a corner of the comedy world where those kids can hang out because comedy had gotten hip over the last 10 years. I’ll go to festivals and the comedians will be in the VIP section of clubs. I didn’t think this was what comedy was for- so we could hang out and get bottle service. I thought it was so we could make kids laugh who weren’t cool enough to know about good bands. I still like those people. That’s who I’m comfortable around.”

“I was this kid, and I was shy, and scared, this angry kid.. I was funny though. [Upright Citizens Brigade] was the first place I ever went in my life where it was like- that was what mattered. It was a meritocracy. It didn’t matter that you’re 19 and weird and have a shitty bowl haircut. You’re funny so come hang out with these 30 year olds who respect you cause its all about being funny. It evened the paying field that was really a lifesaver for me.”

As part of our new podcast sharing select archival episodes of ’s epic interview series Unmasked, this week we are grabbing a really fascinating hour to listen to from 2014:  Unmasked with Chris Gethard.

The Unmasked series which began in 2008 with a brilliant hour with Patrice O’Neal has taped nearly 200 episodes since, documenting the careers of the most interesting comedy writers, directors, filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, satirists, political comedians, comedic musicians and of course, stand up comedians in the business. It is a veritable archive of the greatest comedy of our time. Past Unmasked guests have included , Bob Newhart, , Dan Aykroyd, Simon Pegg, , , Jim Jefferies, Gilbert Gottfried, Bobcat Goldthwait, Louis C.K., David Brenner, , and over 150 more comedy greats.

In 2014,  sat down with Chris Gethard in front of a late night crowd in the SiriusXM studios.

In 2017, Chris Gethard has had a critically acclaimed off-broadway one man show, a giant stand up career, the love and respect of the Upright Citizens Brigade, an HBO special produced by Judd Apatow and is about to take his television series The Chris Gethard Show, to truTV where it will become the first live show to air on a basic cable network.

Back in 2014, The Chris Gethard Show was still on public access in New York City, and Chris felt like he might never get that breakthrough moment.  “I’ve been hearing I’m the next big thing from UCB for eight years. And now there are people who I taught in their classes who are killing it. I might not be…I might be the first guy from UCB to totally whiff,” he told Bennington.  But he was already one of the most respected performers at UCB, and had a cult following for his tv series that included major celebrities, the disenfranchised and marginalized, and everything in between. It was during that time that Chris sat down with for an episode of Unmasked.

Chris talked at length about The Chris Gethard Show, its origins, his plans, and back up plans.  He talked about growing up different in suburban New Jersey and living in a town where there was an element of white privilege, but there was also real darkness, like watching his brother get bullied so badly that his shoulder was broken, and yet still the adults at school wouldn’t do anything to step in.  You’ll hear Gethard talk about his influences, including local New Jersey television like Steampipe Alley and the Uncle Floyd show, and why those shows influenced him so heavily. He also gets into his college years, and joining UCB and creating the weird predecessors to The Chris Gethard Showthat stood out at UCB.  Gethard shares a lot of dark moments, but he also gets into some incredible light moment, sharing stories about the time dropped in at UCB enabling Chris to perform with a childhood hero of his, or having guest on his public access show and say he’s interested in producing the show.  And then there was the time that his audience started chanting the phrase “eat more butts” and they wouldn’t stop for 20 minutes.

It’s truly compelling hour- there are times when you really hold your breath, and you can hear Gethard talking about some of the difficult moments that led to his hour special, Chris Gethard: Career Suicide.  But what’s really fascinating is hearing Chris talk about struggling to get the show picked up to a network, when now the show is about to get its second life on a major cable network.  And it’s also a really funny, hopefully, sweet hour, and it’s so easy to just adore Chris and be happy for all of the success he’s found in the last few years.

Taped at the SiriusXM headquarters in the famed fishbowl studio, on Thursday August 21, 2014, this is Unmasked with Chris Gethard.

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